Wednesday, September 30, 2009

pancakes for the sickies

I'm always looking for
apple recipes this time
of year. Each week we
receive a bag of apples
with a different variety.
Last week's Honeycrisps
were awesome.

Today Ryan has a cold,
and I could tell he was
weighing art class at school
today versus video games
at home, LOL. So I just
opted to keep the boys
home. With all the flu
fanatacism this year, no one
would question me keeping
them home for a sniffle.

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

2 cups soymilk
2 tsp. cider vinegar
1 apple, peeled & diced
1 T. peanut oil
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2-1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 tsp. baking powder
spray olive oil

Measure soymilk and pour into a large bowl. Add vinegar and stir briefly to combine.
Meanwhile, peel and dice a large apple (or two small ones, depending on what variety you have available).
Add oil to the soymilk and beat with an electric mixer until frothy.
In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, combine flour, salt, cinnamon & baking powder. Mix, then add to the soymilk mixture. Beat with electric mixture until flour has just been incorporated.
Gently stir in diced apple.

Heat a large non-stick pan or griddle over med-high heat. Spray with olive oil lightly. Ladle on pancake batter. When bubbles form and pop, flip pancakes. Cook another 1-2 minutes until golden.

I like to add a light spread of Earth Balance as soon as each pancake comes out of the pan. We served these with agave nectar, which is nice and light, so as not to hide the flavours of the apples & cinnamon. But maple syrup would be fine too.

My little pancake helper, Nate... and "sick" Ryan...

Maia chose a new toy from
the "extras" bin at the farm
yesterday--a delicata squash.

And it was probably just as well we took the day off today, since in addition to the never-ending water main reconstruction on our street, last night we were privileged to have an electric truck right outside our bedroom windows replacing the power lines to the house across the street which happen to attach to the telephone pole right outside our house. Lots of orange flashing lights and a man going up and down in a basket. Joy.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

boys brunch bento

Ryan's lunch: Top tier - Terra Exotic Harvest Sea Salt chips; cantaloupe; damson plum (pit removed); pitted kalamata olives; mini apple cherry muffin. Bottom tier - mini asparagus mushroom tofu quiche; steamed broccoli florets; leftover macaroni casserole.

Nate's snack: mini
banana blueberry
muffin; Terra Exotic
Harvest Sea Salt

We've been fortunate
to have so much local
melon so late this year
due to the slow start this spring. The farm food is still pouring in, and I can't wait for all the autumn goodies. Maia's breakfast of cantaloupe and lentil vegetable soup was almost all local, with the exception of the red lentils...and that kettle corn she got a hold of...not sure where that corn is sourced, LOL.

The following is the mini quiche recipe. I usually make crustless quiches, because I just don't feel the need for any extra bread products. But feel free to add a crust to the base if you prefer. Also, experiment with other ingredients...if you don't have asparagus on hand, try small chopped broccoli florets, and don't forget to dice the stems too! Or if you don't like mushrooms, add some extra onion or leeks.

Asparagus Mushroom Tofu Quiche

1 lb. firm tofu
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 T. nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 small onion or 1/2 medium onion, diced
12 spears asparagus, washed, trimmed, and cut into 1/2-1" lengths
12 button mushrooms, washed and sliced (or an equivalent assorment of other mushrooms)
1 T. olive oil
1 T. margarine
spray olive oil

In a food processor, break up tofu, then add salt, soy sauce, garlic powder, nutritional yeast & turmeric. Blend until smooth.

In a saute pan, heat olive oil and margarine over med-low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until onion begins to soften. Add aspargus and cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove onion and aspargus to a separate bowl.

Add mushrooms to saute pan, adding a little extra margarine if pan is too dry. Cook until mushrooms have softened. Remove from heat (drain any extra cooking liquid if necessary).

Mix onion & asparagus back with the mushrooms. Then stir together with the tofu mixture.
Spray a non-stick muffin tin with olive oil (or wipe lightly with a small wad of waxed paper dipped in margarine or olive oil). (If you'd rather make one large quiche, prepare a glass or ceramic pie or quiche plate. ) Spoon mixture evenly into muffin tin.

Bake in a 375F degree oven for about 35 minutes.
Allow to cool for a while before trying to remove the individual quiches.
You could also line the muffin tin with silicon baking cups instead, so they'll be ready to pop right into a bento or lunch box.
Makes 10-12 mini quiches, or 1 regular quiche.

Monday, September 28, 2009

cookbook challenge, finale!

So I reached my goal...a few days after the solstice. I took the cookbook challenge, using Edward Espe Brown's Tomato Blessings and Radish Teachings, cooking usually 3 recipes each week for an entire 3 month season.
There are still more recipes I'd like to try. But I'll be taking a needed break from cookbooks! This exercise reminded me that I should shuffle my cookbook around more often, and definitely pull out those few that I've barely used.
For the month of October I'll be officially participating in VeganMofo (vegan month of food) for the first time. I don't really have a theme in mind, but I post frequently enough and pretty much always on the topic of veganism in some fashion, so I don't need to do much to prepare.
Given the kids return to school and lots of stuff happening in general, I was feeling rather out of steam this last week. But luckily I had everything on hand to cook a final three recipes...

This Chinese Cabbage
Salad with Oranges
and Mint
was not my
favourite, but it was
honestly better than I'd
expected. The orange and
cabbage together was a nice

What never ceased to amaze and confuse me was the authors use of salt on salads but not in most other dishes. I just HAD to add a touch of salt to these Tofu Burritos. The avocado and salsa was a tasty suggestion, but little salt for the tofu and to bring out the flavour of the avocado was a necessity in my opinion.
Only AJ was excited about these but then didn't eat more than a few bites. I think the red pepper turn him off. Everyone else demolished fact I ran out of tortillas and only got one burrito for myself, sigh.

Another often simple
recipe from the book
to end on a fresh note:
the Garden Salad. Nice
fresh greens & herbs,
tangy balsamic vinegar,
with extra zing from
a shallot, topped with
sunflower seeds.

Thank you Edward Espe Brown for your gift of recipes and stories to the world. It was a pleasure reading and now finally cooking through your book! Bon appetit!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

product review: Daiya

Daiya is one of the newest cheese alternatives on the market. I ordered mine online (you must order it with a cold pack for shipping) in small shredded portions of "Italian Blend" and "Cheddar Style".

While Daiya has won awards and rave reviews, I still found the taste rather plastic-like and the smell bizarre. But it did indeed melt. And it melted quickly and easily, unlike most non-dairy cheeses on the market. The kids loved it, and once I got used to the taste I was happy to have's just not something I'd sit down and eat plain.

What is most amazing about Daiya is its soy, among other things. Here's an excerpt from their website:

"Daiya is made with nutritious planted-based ingredients and is:
  • 33% less fat than dairy-based cheese with equivelant attributes
  • Cholesterol free
  • Trans Fat free
  • Dairy free
  • Free of all animal products (Vegan and Parve)
  • Free of common allergens including:
    • Soy, Casein, Lactose, Gluten, Egg, Wheat, Barley, Corn, Whey, Rice, and Nuts
  • Free of Artificial Ingredients
  • Free of Preservatives
  • Free of Hormones & Antibiotics
  • An excellent source of a naturally occurring vegan vitamin B-12 as well as an excellent source of B vitamins in general"
Seriously, if you are dairy and soy allergic, you should probably give Daiya a try. I'm hopeful with such a great base, that they will be able to improve the flavours over time.

Here are a few examples of how we used our sampling of Daiya:



cheezy kale

mac & cheez

bagel pizzas

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Maia the Menace

Here you have a total
fluff post about my 14
month old. She is very
clearly no longer a baby
anymore, getting into
everything, climbing on
everything, trying to do
what her brothers do...
and this is just what I
happened to have the camera handy for...I missed things like her standing on top of the picnic table...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fall Friday

First friday of fall 2009...
Ryan's lunch: mini whole wheat pitas w/hummus & cucumber; apple slices; flat pretzels; roasted pumpkin seeds; blanched spinach; mango gel cup on the side.

It seems like everybody has their version of kale chips, baked kale leaves, roasted kale, etc. Here's my version...

Kale Crisps

4-6 large kale leaves
1/2 tsp. kelp powder
spray olive oil

Wash kale and pat dry
with a towel. Pull or
tear off big bite-sized pieces from the stems. (Discard the stem or save for another use.)
Spray a baking sheet with olive oil. Place kale pieces on the baking sheet. Spray the leaves lightly with olive oil. Toss to coat. Sprinkle on the kelp powder.
Bake in a 350F oven for 10-12 minutes.

Nate loves these...he calls them "those weird things." "Can I have more of those weird things please??" LOL.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


to cele-
so I
to take

However, Nate insisted
he wanted edamame I made the
edamame and sent that
along too, and added some
to Ryan's lunch while at it.

Ryan's lunch:
in a
with a
side of

is a
food in Japan, served in the pod, salted, alongside beer or sake. But kids absolutely love it. And you can cut prep time to a minimum by buying organic pre-shelled edamame, pouring some in a glass bowl, covering it with water, and nuking it for 2 minutes, then letting it sit for 2 minutes. Drain, add salt, and serve.
If you've ever tried to shell edamame for a couple of hungry kids, you'll know why the pre-shelled edamame is just brilliant.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

catchup and musturnip greens

I had
to catch
up on
grocery shopping, and yard work. So time to play catch up!

Before Dada arrived home, Ryan sold cookies and cider on sunday. We have these red dragonflies in the area, and I think this one was waiting to purchase something from Ryan's stand, hanging out right under the menu.

On monday I was out of
food and motivation, so I
grabbed some crescent
rolls out of the drawer, some
of those cinnamon apples
I'd frozen in ice cube trays
last month, a handful of
frozen spinach, and a quick
grate of soy cheese...

These disappeared FAST.
Ryan got a cinnamon apple
roll and a spinach-soy cheese
roll in his lunchbox, along
with a soy yogurt, a side of
watermelon, and a drink of
rice-almond milk.

By tuesday I was a little more organized...and I skipped a fall themed bento in favour of something quick in one of the new bentos my husband picked up at Daiso in San Jose...

red bell

This slim 510ml bento
fit well into his lunchbox
and held just the right
amount of food for a
6 going on 7 year old's
appetite when densely
packed, along with a
bottle of chocolate almond

Turnip Green Fried Rice

2-3 cups cooked rice
2 T. peanut or canola oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup raw turnip greens
1/2 cup corn, fresh or
1 T. soy sauce
1 tsp. salt

If you have leftover rice, great! If not, cook some and let it sit for a bit.
Wash and chop a bunch of turnip greens. Lay them in a pile and slice of chop into strips.
Heat oil in large skillet or wok.
Add onion and cook for 2-3
minutes over medium-high
heat, stirring often. Add rice
and stir to combine. Add corn
and turnip greens, soy sauce
and salt. Cook until heated
through and turnip greens
have wilted. Serve hot.

The kids will eat almost
any veggie in a fried rice
dish! And we are getting
tons of greens in a huge
variety from the farm
right now.

First day of fall, and
I spied the first red
maple leaf on our lawn.
Lots of raking is in my
future for sure.

And now we're up to today's bento...

Ryan's lunch: rice with a
nori Pikachu face; green
& purple grapes; steam
broccoli; bean salad; a
side of black raspberry

I made the bean salad,
along with some more
apple cinnamon crescent
rolls, for the teacher
appreciation luncheon
at the boys' elementary
school. Hopefully some of
the staff enjoyed it. With
600 kids there are a lot
of teachers!